In a recent South Carolina Republican primary poll, former President Donald Trump continues to dominate the state, while former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley shows signs of gaining momentum. According to a CNN poll conducted by SSRS, Trump maintains a strong hold with 53% support among likely Republican primary voters in the Palmetto State. Others in the race have struggled to gain traction, except for Haley, who saw a boost in her home state with 22% support.
Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida, a popular figure among conservatives, received 11% support, while Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina received 6% support. Among the likely primary voters surveyed, 61% firmly declared their support for their chosen candidate, while 37% said they could still change their minds.
Interestingly, despite a dip in first-choice support, DeSantis remained the top second-choice candidate among respondents, securing 24%. Haley and Scott were not far behind with 19% each, and Trump remained the second choice for 13% of voters.
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These poll results echo findings from Iowa and New Hampshire, indicating a rise in popularity for Haley but an overall race still dominated by Trump. In a recent Iowa poll of likely Republican caucusgoers, Haley caught up to DeSantis with both receiving 16% support. This is noteworthy since DeSantis had deployed a focused strategy in Iowa, even relocating a significant portion of his campaign staff to the state. Scott, on the other hand, saw a drop in support from 9% in August to 7% in the latest poll. He also recently announced a strategy specifically geared towards Iowa.
The “footprint” metric used in the Iowa poll reflects that both Trump and DeSantis are still strong contenders, with each receiving 67% in terms of being considered as either a first or second choice by voters. Haley also showed a substantial footprint at 54%.
Haley’s continued surge aligns with the desire of non-Trump supporters to rally behind an alternative candidate. Both the DeSantis and Haley campaigns have intensified attacks on one another as they vie for the opportunity to challenge Trump. As the primary race unfolds, it remains to be seen who will emerge as the primary challenger to Trump’s reign as the GOP’s preferred candidate.